A Window into Life in the Suburbs

"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." Luke 12:27 (NIV)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

On Elections, Politics and Kids

We live in interesting days...
At least for those of us who live in Oz.

Aussies went to the polls on Saturday and so far there is no clear result. I'm biting my nails... figuratively...
But the wonderful thing about Aussieland is that everyone continues to go about their business and there's no rioting in the streets.

I'm an immigrant and I'm glad I live here in Australia. One of the benefits of living in Australia is participatory democracy. Democracy recognizes diversity and accepts that every citizen above a certain age has the privilege and maturity to cast a vote not just for their own interest but for the interest of the nation at large.

I’ve been listening (when I can) to different analyses on my local talkback station and reading the blogs. Not surprising everyone tries to project their own concerns onto the reasons why we have such a close result. I'm no political pundit but it seems almost that there are 2 or even 3 Australias. So whoever gains the privilege to govern in the end will have to govern for the different Australias. A herculean task, no doubt.

Despite the temporary state of limbo we find ourselves in, I am glad to be living in a democracy and a bit of “organized chaos” is a good reminder from time to time that we should never take what we have here for granted. Freedom is at the root of democracy and I myself believe that a pluralistic society functions best when each person enjoys individual liberty under the rule of law.

For a democracy to function properly, there needs to be free and honest debate. People need to be able to choose based on the best information and commentary available at the time. Personally I don't think we are being well served by the mainstream media. It becomes more evident when I read blogs, dig a little deeper and get past the sound bytes.
I've been thinking about this for a while, in terms of how it affects how we decide which way to vote but also to give our children a framework to think for themselves, to see past the hype. Politics, it seems to me isn't something most of us discuss with our children but we need to, I think. Seems to me that we leave this aspect of their education too much to school and university and it wouldn't surprise me if it isn't the reason why many of them wander away from the values that they were taught as children at certain stages of their lives.

The problem probably lies with us, parents not really keeping ourselves informed. Hey, it's tough especially with kiddies under the age of 5. Unfortunately it behooves us to be informed because many of the policies on offer do affect us and our children's future. It does mean that we do have to be a little politically savvy so that we make decisions on election day not wholly based on what bribes are being offered but taking a longer term view of things.

Thinking initially that it was an urban legend, but later discovering this to be true, I was stunned that in this elections, to hear that some of our younger voters made their choice on the basis of the candidate's gender. While I would love to see a woman elected decisively to the top job one day, I would prefer it to be on the strength of her merits and convictions rather than the arrangement of her reproductive organs. Perhaps it's a hopeless cause... but I like to think  that we still live in a meritocracy.

I haven't thought through this exhaustively but I've made a kind of general interim list of things we can instill in our kids appropriate to their age:
I want to lead them to...

  • Thank God and be grateful for the freedoms that we enjoy in this country... to worship and to live in a manner consistent with our values
  • To remember that these freedoms were hard fought and paid with the blood of many during world conflicts (Anzac Day)
  • To remember that all human beings, whether we agree with their ideology, are made in the image of God
  • To remember that we don't trust in "horses and chariots" but in the Lord Jesus Christ
  • To be good stewards of the God's creation... that the earth is the Lord's and everything in it. But not just the natural environment but with how we use the economic wealth that God has blessed us with
  • It's hard to have to tell kids that this isn't a perfect world and it will never be. Utopias are just that... "no places"...  They don't exist and often attempts to create them lead to tyranny. 
  • Governments in whatever shape or form, however, are part of God's sovereign will and he does act through all different kinds to bring his purposes
  • Know what Mummy and Daddy believe and why we believe it


  1. Definitely food for thought in relation to discussing what we believe and why with our kids. Politics is always a tricky one - I'm annoyed that so many took their opportunity to vote for granted. It will be an interesting time ahead.

  2. *sheepishly admits that she's one of those younger voters who voted according to the candidates gener * but i'll remember to ask you first before the next election, okay, lilian? :P

  3. Is that you Em? :D
    Well, it's not for me to tell you how to vote but it's good to be informed.


Let me know what you think!